Powerful tech tools put health care at your fingertips
The 21st-century way to track your health
Technology has always been a natural fit with health and fitness, and in the digital age it is becoming an integral part of people’s daily lives. With mobile devices like smartphones and smartwatches accompanying you wherever you go, it is much easier to constantly monitor exercise, diet, and health factors such as heart rate.
Through the use of apps, smartphones can monitor your health and fitness activities throughout the day, and also at night while you sleep. You can download health and fitness apps from your smartphone’s app store but check first to see if any are pre-installed on your device. The iPhone has the Health app, and Android smartphones can use the Google Fit app.
These devices are worn on your wrist and have significant levels of computing power. Part of their job is to monitor your health and fitness. One advantage of smartwatches and fitness trackers is that they contain sensors, so they can monitor areas such as heart rate and, in some instances, heart condition.
The world of apps has embraced the area of health and fitness, so you’ll find apps that can monitor everything from how far you walk to your daily calorie intake. Here are some ways apps can be used to monitor — and boost — your health and fitness.
- Fitness tracking apps can keep a record of a specific activity, such as how far you have walked during a timed period.
- Diet and calorie apps can provide you with healthy eating plans and also keep a record of your calorie intake and exercise.
- Workout apps supply a range of workouts that you follow through videos and animations. Find your favorite — they cover everything from aerobic exercise and weight lifting to yoga and Pilates.
Apple Watch — it’s not just for telling time
The Apple Watch is a marvel of modern technology. It does all the normal things a watch can do, but when you link it with your iPhone, it can do so much more. The latest version, the Apple Watch 5, can be used for a significant range of health options.
The device works closely with the Health app on your iPhone. Data collected on the Apple Watch is fed back to the Health app, where you can analyze it in greater detail, using graphs and charts. The information is also stored on the Health app so you can look back on it over a period of time. Here are some of the things the Apple Watch can do.
Keep an eye on your heart rate. The Heart app can display your heart rate using the sensors on the back of the Apple Watch. If the app detects an unusually high or low heart rate, it can send you an alert.
Identify possible problems. Not only can the Apple Watch (version 4 and later) monitor your heart rate, it can also identify potential problems. This is done by creating an electrocardiogram (ECG), which records your heart’s electrical signals. That provides important medical information relating to the performance of your heart.
Track your workouts. The Workout app can be used to record details of workouts for a range of different activities. The app records the type of workout, the duration of the activity, the number of calories burned, and average heart rate during the activity.
Set daily targets for moving, exercising, and standing. Use the Activity app to record your activity during the day. It will even give you reminders to stand every hour, to ensure you are not sitting for too long during the day.
Detect falls. The sophisticated sensors in the Apple Watch can detect when a hard fall has occurred. If this happens, an alert will appear asking if you are OK or if you want to phone the emergency services by tapping on the Emergency SOS button.
This action will also alert your emergency contacts, which are added to the Health app on your iPhone. If an emergency SOS call is made,they will be contacted and sent your location. If you are unresponsive for 60 seconds, an emergency call will be made automatically.
Monitor noise. External noise can have a detrimental impact on your hearing if it is too loud or too constant. The Noise app on the Apple Watch can be used to detect when noises are over a certain level of decibels, so you can move away from the noise or use earplugs to lessen its impact.
Help you de-stress. For something you do all the time, the benefits of breathing are often underestimated. The Breathe app on the Apple Watch can be used to concentrate on your breathing, to help you relax, and take some of the stress out of the day.
In addition to the Apple Watch, numerous other smartwatches and fitness bands are available to help track your health and fitness. Here are a few to look at.
- FC&A Staff Writer